Walking Dead Still Locked Up in TVNZ Programming Crypt

Monster smash The Walking Dead may not hit the road here in HD until later next year.

Even if it does premiere earlier, NZ still will be one of the last territories in the world to broadcast what top US critics have been drooling over.

TVNZ proudly trumpeted its acquisition of the zombie sensation at its new-season launch to ad agencies in November.

The premiere had just notched up unprecedented ratings for the cable channel AMC and at the weekend the cliffhanger season finale hit a series high.

The Walking Dead has spawned huge buzz in cyberspace and is now TV’s most pirated show.

Last month it also bowed in the UK, where star Andrew Lincoln is familiar to viewers because of roles in shows like This Life, Teachers and Afterlife, as part of an unusual, cinema-style worldwide release.

But TV2 has still to slot The Walking Dead into its schedule. A spokesperson told ScreenScribe.tv: “We are waiting to get more details about The Walking Dead’s second season before firming up our plans with season one.”

That’s because season one’s only six episodes long and NZ networks prefer to stockpile longer runs of a series before launching it, so viewership can build.

Prime, for instance, held back Survivors and Being Human until it had enough episodes of each to create three-month blocks.

If that’s TV2’s plan with The Walking Dead, then the series won’t debut before mid-2011, as the 13-episode season two isn’t due to start on AMC until October.

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